Bloodborne: Love, Hate, Death

Post by Patrick


What I love about Bloodborne is that it feels like an adventure. The atmosphere in the game is so meticulously crafted. You don’t have a map so you’re never sure what to expect forcing you to rely on the senses to explore. As I was exploring and fighting through the streets of Yharnam I couldn’t help but feel stressed the majority of time, it was unnerving. I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. Yes, the game can be creepy, but it wasn’t Silent Hill. I think part of it was the fact that you don’t have a shield in the game, you have nothing to hide behind so you’re forced to push forward, to be aggressive, and not to be defensive. It pushed me out of my element and It encouraged me to play in a style I’m not used too.


Bloodborne has a reputation for being a difficult game, which I think is unfair because that overshadows the other aspects that makes the experience a lot of fun. It’s true that the game is hard, but it doesn’t feel impossible, it’s challenging. Having patience comes a long way in Bloodborne. Every enemy has a “tell” for every one of their attacks, their moves are very choreographed. The boss fights are tough, but every boss has a specific gimmick. You’re brain will want you to deal as much damage as quickly as possible, but that will only get you killed. The game rewards players who don’t rush through areas, useful treasures aren’t the only things you’ll find, but equally as important are the shortcuts you’ll unlock that will help you get around much quicker.


On the technical side of things, Bloodborne looks and sounds fantastic. The creatures you come across are incredibly creepy, gross and messed up. There’s nothing as hair raising as hearing the faint scrapping sound of a weapon being dragged by an enemy across the floor you yet can’t see getting louder, closer. The only real problem I have with the game are the loading times. In a game where death is prevalent, a 40 second loading time can be a nuisance especially when you just want to get back into the game after dying.


Now the problem isn’t that Bloodborne is too hard, the problem is that the major studios in the gaming industry are trying to cater to so many kinds of people that the majority of games are simply too easy, too simple. When a game is too easy you lose that sense of adventure. As much as I loved Dragon Age Inquisition it suffered from that problem. There were a lot of instances in Dragon Age were I would be shifting between feeling immersed and not. Making games easier and simplifying game mechanics isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it’s what helps bring in new gamers and it’s one of the reasons gaming has become such a popular hobby. The problem is that there isn’t any balance. A lot of developers rely on difficulty settings to try and please players looking for more of a challenge, but setting a game on hard is different than playing a game that was specifically designed to be challenging. The only thing higher difficulty settings do are usually increase the enemies health and maybe place more enemies. Most of the time it just makes the game feel cheap.


I enjoyed playing the Dark Souls series, but I felt that they were slightly overrated. The games garnered a lot of praise and critics seemed to gloss over the negatives like the annoying and frustrating level designs and the vagueness of the basic core game play elements so you were either left to guess what things did or you were forced to go online to do some research. With Bloodborne it’s as though creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and From Software learnt their lessons past games because the quality of Bloodborne really blows the previous Souls games away. It’s the first killer exclusive the Playstation 4 has gotten and probably the best exclusive when compared to what the Xbox One has to offer. Bloodborne is more accessible than Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, so if you’re looking for something different or something more challenging than the average game I would definitely recommend Bloodborne.


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Playstation Plus – March

Post by Patrick

Oddword Abe’s Oddysee – New ‘n’ Tasty!


This is a remake of a game I remember playing on my Playstation 1 back in 1997 (or 1998?). I wasn’t really a huge fan of the game at that time because I was spending most of my time playing RPG’s and even though I enjoyed aspects of Abe’s Oddysee I never devoted enough time to it to fully appreciate it for what it offered.

Abe’s Oddysee is a 2D puzzle platform where you play as Abe to try and rescue as many Mudokon slaves as you can while you attempt to escape Molluck the Glukkon and RuptureFarms. The game looks great and can be pretty challenging at times, this is definitely going to be a game I play for a long time.



Counterspy is a 2D metroidvania inspired game that features stealth elements. The game is easy to play making it a perfect pick up and play type game. Visually Counterspy has a fantastic art style. The game is played mostly from a 2D perspective until you take cover behind a wall or obstacle, which changes the games perspective, moving the camera right behind you which looks cool. As you progress through the levels you find safe’s that include blueprints for new weapons you can use to unlock new guns. There’s a story but really, it’s not that important and the strength of this game lies in the gameplay.

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to OlliWood


The first OlliOlli game received a lot of positives reviews, I was never a big fan of it. My three favorite aspects of the game was the controls, the combo system and the music. But I disliked how the game looked. I love 2D games, but OlliOlli looked cheap, like the dev’s didn’t put in any effort in the art style or what the world should look like. The levels also didn’t do it for me, they were uninspiring and bland. There wasn’t anything exciting about them. So when OlliOlli 2 was announced I wasn’t looking forward to it. When it was announced it would be a free download for members with a Playstation Plus account I decided to try it out and I’m glad I did.

It’s a big step forward in the series. Visually the game looks better, the world is brighter and not as bland as it was in the first game. The art style is better and more consistent. The music is even better than it was in the first game. The dev’s added new features in the game like the ability to pull off manuals and grind-switches among other things. The manual is probably the best addition since it lets you bust out a combo that lasts the entire length of a level.

Check out this video of me going through one of the early levels in OlliOlli 2 to get a better idea of how the game works (and listen to that sweet, sweet music).

All in all, this has been my favorite month of being a Playstation Plus member since the release of the PS4. Check out these games and have some fun!

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20th Anniversary Sony PS4 Charity Auction

Post by Mark


Xcite are holding an auction for the limited edition 20th Anniversary PS4 on Saturday at Q8 Con, here is the info I received:

Enter the Charity Auction to OWN a 20th Anniversary Limited Edition PlayStation 4! All proceeds will be donated to Kuwait Centre for Autism.

Location: 360 Mall
Date: March 7th, 2015
Time: 5PM and registration begins at 4PM

Auction Regulations:
You must register to participate in the auction.
Only 100 seats are available.
Valid Civil ID is required.
Winner will receive the PS4 once full payment is made to Kuwait Centre for Autism.

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Win an Xbox One

Post by Mark


Alghanim Automotive are running a competition at Auto Moto 15 in 360 Mall. They have an Xbox One setup at their stand and whomever accomplishes the fastest lap will win an Xbox One at the end of the event. Fairly simply competition.

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Play classic DOS games in your browser

Post by Mark


Prince of Persia, Test Drive III, Terminator 2 – Judgment Day, Pole Position and around 2,300 more games are now all available to play online for free. Check them out [Here]

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DriveClub Review

Post by Patrick


I’m not a massive fan of racing games, but I love playing them every once in a while. You need to devote time to play them right and I’m usually playing role-playing games or some adventure game. With that in mind Driveclub is the perfect racing game for me. It’s a bare-bones racer that removes a lot of unnecessary fluff. You won’t be spending time checking out cars and trying to figure out which to buy, you won’t be spending time modifying your car and you won’t be spending a lot of time in menu’s.


One of the things I like about DriveClub is that you can navigate through the menu’s quickly and everything presented to you is self-explanatory. You can be in a race within a minute of starting the game. I wouldn’t describe DriveClub as a sim, but I wouldn’t call it an arcade racer either. It’s somewhere in-between. You’ll be racing across five different countries ranging from Europe, Asia, North and South America. And each country includes eleven courses, each presenting a different kind of challenge. Racing against the computer A.I. is intense and fast paced, they are aggressive and will do their best not to let you pass. Which is a nice departure from racing against the mechanical, predictable A.I. present in the majority of other racing games.


One of the main features of the game is that you’re connected with the rest of the DriveClub community at all times. So you’ll be racing through a course and come across a variety of challenges placed there by others for you to compete in. If you’re successful in these challenges you gain Fame. Unlike other racing games where you compete for money you’ll be racing to gain Fame which is comparable to experience points you gain in role-playing games. You gain Fame by doing well in races, events, and challenges, and the more Fame you have the more cars you’ll unlock. You’ll also be able to unlock new paint jobs and designs for your cars.

Another feature of the game are Clubs. You can create your own Club or join someone else’s. When you gain Fame racing on your own, you also gain Fame for your club. It’s an interesting concept that makes you feel connected to your friends even when they’re not online playing. The better your club does, the higher ranked it is in the worldwide leaderboards.


Visually, the game is stunning. The environments are detailed and the dynamic weather is just incredible. The environments are meticulously detailed. The stars in the night sky are accurately portrayed, so the star constellations you see while you’re driving are accurate for whatever country the course is in and skies are randomly generated every time you play, so you’ll never come across the same sky twice. It’s great that the developers incorporated a photo-mode that includes different settings you can play around to get the picture you want. You access the photo-mode by pressing the touchpad on the PS4 controller, it’s straight forward and hassle free.

I think anyone who enjoys car games will enjoy DriveClub. It might not have the depth of games like Gran Turismo but it makes up for it in its no nonsense approach. There are some things that I wish the game did better, the drifting mechanic needs some getting used too and I wish there were more ways to customize the way your car looks. The single-player campaign mode is lengthy and it includes two free DLC’s that are available for anyone. There’s also a solid multiplayer mode so you can go up against others. I haven’t played the new Forza, but with DriveClub on the PS4, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.



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Post by Patrick


I don’t write much about mobile games, mainly because a lot of them are terrible. But every once in a while you’ll see a game come along that’s fun and unique, taking advantage of the touchscreen efficiently. In the past year we’ve been seeing better games come out on phones, Threes! (which won iOS game of the year), Monument Valley, Hitman Go, Oquonie and Terra Battle were some of my highlights. I was browsing Polygon’s website when I came across one of their new features where they recommend free or cheap games called Play This Now. The game they recommended was the highly stylized Framed.


Framed is a noir-inspired puzzle game. The goal of each level is to to re-arrange comic book panels in a way that allows your character to forward without dying or getting caught. The control scheme is simple but given its context it’s also fresh and unique, best of all it works incredibly well. My biggest issue with mobile games is that their control schemes tend to suck. Games on smartphones shouldn’t use traditional control schemes made to work with controllers, I don’t want to see buttons, it’s not intuitive. My favorite type of games are ones that use the touch-screen in a way where you’re not forced to continuously keep your fingers on your screen. Framed controls incredibly well and the only actions you’ll be making are dragging frames across the screen or rotating them. Simple and straight to the point, keeping your focus on the solving the puzzle, not worried about how to control your character.

Visually, Framed is outstanding. The animations are silky smooth, the art direction is spot on and the level designs are fantastic. The visual cues are placed in levels in a meaningful and non-obtrusive manner. The color theme for the game is mostly made up of a variety of blues, blacks and some greens, visual cues tend to be an orange, red or white. The music isn’t an after thought either, it’s jazzy, fitting the mood perfectly. At the start of a level, as you rearrange the comic book panels the music is quiet and subtle but when the action starts, the music picks up pace and crescendos. It’s obvious that a lot of thought has gone into every facet of Framed, which is a rare for a game that’s made for smartphones.

Framed is available in the Appstore for $4.99, pick it up.


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Top Five Games of the Year: 2014

Post by Patrick


2014 was an okay year for video games, there were quite a few good games, but not many fantastic ones. It was a year that seemed to be filled with controversy, from buggy releases to silly comments from developers (looking at you Ubisoft). Now since I don’t enjoy rushing through games there’s still some titles I’ve yet to play this year, like Far Cry 4, Super Smash Bros Persona Q and Alien Isolation. But it’s that time of year again where we make lists. This is mine. Here is my top 5 favorite games of 2014.

5 – Shovel Knight
Every once in a while a game will come along that does everything right. The art, the music, the level designs, characters. Shovel Knight is one of those games. It was originally released on the 3DS, Wii U and PC, but I’m glad to see that it’ll be coming out on the PS4 and Vita some time next year.

4 – Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta 2 is a game that is incredibly polished and improves on every aspect that made the first one so good. The action is fast paced, frantic and so much fun. You’ll be fighting small demons, huge demons, you’ll be fighting on top of fighter jets, on the side of buildings. It’s crazy, it’s fun and it’s wacky. The developer, Platinum Games has a reputation for making some of the best over-the-top action games and Bayonetta 2 is probably their best game yet.

3 – Wolfenstein New Order
Earlier in the year I was annoyed at the lack of variety in games that were coming out later in 2014 and in 2015 and wrote a blog post were I sort of criticized the industry. I used Wolfenstein as an example before I even played it and I regret it now. After playing the game and beating it, its become one of my favorite games of all time. The thing is, it doesn’t really do anything drastically different than other first person shooters. It just does everything incredibly well. The shooting, the story, the pacing, it was fantastic. This game had so many great and memorable moments. Developed by main guys behind the brilliant Chronicles of Roddick games, Wolfenstein New Order is exciting, fun and I really hope they make a sequel.

2 – Dragon Age Inquisition
When a BioWare game comes along, I tend to put every other game on hold. They tend to feature gameplay elements that I enjoy a lot. If Dragon Age Inquisition is any indication of what we can expect from BioWare in the future, I can’t wait until the next Mass Effect game comes along.

1 – Mario Kart 8
When I have friends over and we want to play something, Mario Kart 8 is what we end up going with. It’s easy to get into, it’s competitive and it can be just silly fun. It’s one of those games that I’ll end up playing for a very long time, until Nintendo release their next console and the next Mario Kart. The game has its flaws, like the incredibly disappointing Battle Mode, but all other aspects are just so good, even the online mode works like a charm.

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Dragon Age Inquisition: Game of the Year?

Post by Patrick


I’ve been a fan of BioWare for quite some time. I was introduced to them through their brilliant Knights of the Old Republic series for the Xbox. Knights of the Old Republic was praised for a lot of things, I personally enjoyed the story and being able to create your own Lightsaber was pretty cool. They then went on to create one of my favorite franchises ever, Mass Effect. I was never able to really get into Dragon Age though. I played Dragon Age Origins but never beat it, even though the story and characters were interesting, the game was clunky and it simply hadn’t aged well on consoles. But I was excited going into Dragon Age Inquisition and I wasn’t disappointed.


For those who don’t know Bioware specializes in creating massive, epic, role-playing games that feature a wide range of memorable characters and stories where the decisions you make matter. Bioware have reached their pinnacle with Dragon Age Inquisition. So the start of the game is a typical RPG affair. You choose your race (Human, Elf, Dwarf or Qunari), class (Warrior, Rogue, Mage), and how your character looks like. Now the visuals in the game are beautiful. The art featured on tarot cards you find throughout the game in menu’s, the codex and loading screens are simply stunning. Character models and faces look fantastic, weapons and armors look great and the environments you explore are detailed. The music is also top-notch. You’ll find bards in taverns that will play songs that you discover while exploring the world, and some of those songs are beautiful.

Another nice little touch in the game is that it allows you to customize your weapons and armor in little ways based on the kind of materials you use to craft them.


The game isn’t an open-world per se, but some environments are huge. The environments are larger than previous Dragon Age titles and encourage players to explore by hiding treasure, caves, lore and rare stones throughout the landscapes. You can easily spend 10 hours in the first area the game puts you in due to its sheer size and all the content stuffed within it. What’s also impressive is the variation of environments you find throughout the game. No two areas look alike. The game designers made sure that each area was unique in some way.


The narrative allows you to make a lot of decisions that affect the story in one way or another. Some decisions are easy and straight forward, while others are a bit more complicated. At one point in the game, in the middle of an important mission I had a choice to make. My men were in danger and to save them I would have to sacrifice my ally’s ship. Do I lose an ally, or people I care for? When you’re not out adventuring you’ll be spending quite some time using the War Table. The War Table allows you to send one of your advisors on missions that can unlock new areas or a reward. The length of each missions varies and mission timers run in real-time.

Because of all the content Bioware tried to stuff into Dragon Age Inquisition, the game might feel a bit overwhelming. The journal you have access too in the game organizes your missions based on various factors (main quests, companions and locations). The game also features a multiplayer mode that I’ve yet to touch, but what I do know is that it’s a four player co-op mode that features 12-pre made characters (4 warriors, 4 mages, 4 rogues) and three campaigns you can choose from. There’s quite a bit of info on the multiplayer that can be found on the official Dragon Age Inquisition website.


The game is not without its flaws. The tutorial quest is kind of dull and pretty forgettable, the game doesn’t do a great job at explaining some of the gameplay elements. You’ll encounter a few bugs throughout your adventure, thankfully none that break the game. The War Table has a terrible user-interface and sometimes it’s difficult to see what missions are available because of the dark colors which makes it annoying to flip through each one. It would have been convenient if there was a way to quickly flip through all the quests you have available to you. This last complaint isn’t a major one, but I felt that they could have included more hairstyles and beards for you to customize your character with.

Every year I wait for that game that will keep me up at night, glued to my TV, forcing me to do just one more quest. Dragon Age Inquisition is definitely that. You can ignore all the side-quests in this game and breeze through the main-story and beat it in 40 hours or so, but honestly, what’s the fun in that? There aren’t many games that can immerse you the same way Bioware games do, don’t take it for granted. Take your time, take in the scenery and enjoy your stay in Thedas. This is definitely a contender for my favorite game of the year.


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20 Years of Playstation: Memories

Post by Patrick


Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the revolutionary Playstation. I still remember the night in 1996 that I got the Playstation as a gift from my parents. Not knowing about different electrical currents, I ended up frying it by plugging the Playstation straight into a wall. Luckily for me I was able to get it replaced the next morning. At the time the Playstation was mind blowing, it played games off CDs and the 3D graphics were (at the time) impressive and the amount of amazing games released on the Playstation was nothing short of remarkable.


One of my favorite genre’s has always been role-playing games. I played countless of RPG’s on my Playstaion. I was introduced to the genre on the Super Nintendo through my best friend who owned nearly every Squaresoft game released on the SNES, including Final Fantasy III (which is now Final Fantasy VI) and Chrono Trigger. I remember the first role-playing game I played on the Playstation was called Wild Arms. It had a cool anime western-theme that involved magic and monsters. When you were exploring the world the game featured 2D sprites and when you were in combat the graphics switched to 3D. Then obviously there was Final Fantasy VII, so much has been said about this game, it was incredible, iconic and bought Square into the mainstream. My personal favorite Final Fantasy game on the Playstation was Final Fantasy IX. It had some amazing pieces of music, one of my favorite cast of characters and a great story. Suikoden II was also a brilliant game on the Playstation, sadly the Suikoden franchise was never that popular and a sealed copy of Suikoden II can cost more than $300 off eBay. My all time favorite role-playing game on the Playstation was Xenogears. It’s the only game that I still own from the Playstation 1 era and it’s one of my most treasured possessions. Everything about this game hooked me in as a teenager. The characters, the mechs, the world, the weird story-line (that still kind of doesn’t really make any sense). It was a unique game, with themes that revolved some serious issues that not many other games touched on like psychology and religion. The series (sort of) lives on through it’s spiritual successor Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii and Xenoblade Chronicles X on the Wii U.

Castlevania Symphony of the Night was another fantastic Playstation title. It wasn’t popular at the time because Konami decided to use 2D sprites for the game and not rely on 3D graphics. That decision could explain how the game has aged so well since it’s still popular to this day. Symphony of the Night is as close to perfect as any game can get. I’m not a huge fan of fighting games but Tekken 2 was a big game in my families house, my brother and I used to play it quite a bit along with Battle Arena Toshinden.


Then there was Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece. Every design decision made sense. The Psycho Mantis boss fight was genius, the fact that he could read your memory cards data and tell you what games you’ve been playing was amazing. Psycho Mantis could defend against all your moves and the only way to beat him was to plug your controller into the 2nd player port. No one had done anything like that before and I struggle to think of any game that has tried doing something similar since. One genre that got the spotlight during the Playstation era was survivor horror. I remember borrowing Resident Evil from a friend, he gave it to me in a CD case that didn’t have cover of the game nor game manual and he didn’t really tell me anything about the game. I never ended up beating it and I can count on one hand the number of survivor horror games I have beat. Resident Evil 2 is one of them. This game is one of my favorite games of all time and to this day my favorite Resident Evil game. I loved exploring the destroyed Racoon City and who could forget a scene like this?

Sony really did a brilliant job with the Playstation 1 and got a lot of quality developers on board. You had a ton of classic games like Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot and Ridge Racer. Lets not forget that Sony was taking on both Sega and Nintendo and easily outsold both. Twenty years later and the Playstation lives on strong.

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